Summer Top 10 List
by Rebecca Nimerfroh
It all happens so fast. All of a sudden you notice it. The top has been down on the Jeep for weeks now. You spend more time circling the parking lot at the Stop & Shop than you do actually buying groceries, and the line at four corners is a game of politeness gone awry. And the beaches – well, they’re just the right bit of crowded, and the water is just the right temperature to wash all your worries away.
You’ve officially left your oven for your grill, and afternoons with friends on the deck linger long after stars fill the sky. The sidewalks of town are swimming in Nantucket reds and dresses the color of flower fields, these Sunday best-dressed tourists sauntering in and out of shops. The buttery sweet smell of the waffle cone press pulls you into the Juice Bar line each and every time you try to walk by. It’s finally here. Summer.
But don’t let it pass you by as quickly as it came! Here, we outline the official summer bucket list, an itinerary of “must do’s” that the “September you” can be proud of. So follow along, and allow your hair to air dry, allow that sand to find its way in your bed, allow that beach bag to stay in the car for easy access tomorrow, and most of all, enjoy every single second.
1.Kayak In The Harbor
When the wind is calm and the sky is clear, it’s the perfect day to explore Nantucket harbor, and it honestly couldn’t be easier. Companies here rent both kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Some companies can be found right on the beach yoou are at. They can rent these water toys by the hour or even the day. Go it alone or grab a friend, head out into the water and weave in and out of the many beautiful boats moored just feet from shore. Or, pack a picnic and head to Coatue, directly across the harbor, an untouched strip of sand home to piping plovers, songbirds and lots and lots of clams.
2.Clams On The Grill
Speaking of clams, Coatue isn’t the only place to dig for them, in fact, any bay-like body of water on Nantucket is worth investigating for a good bounty (you just need to have a shellfishing license pinned to your waders – you can get one at the Police Station on Fairgrounds Road.) Once you get a bushel, head home with your ear on the horn calling all friends to a barbecue at yours, and tell them to bring the sides. Cooking clams can be as complicated as you like, or as simple as pie. Naturalists prefer placing them directly on the grill and closing the lid for five minutes. When the shell has opened, they’re good to go. Let them cool for a minute or two, and then slurp them down and the delicious sweet clam juice inside. Allow your friends to pat you on the back for your hunter-gather capabilities.
3. Stargaze In Madaket
Head out to Madaket, the western side of the island, where sun sets are something of a spectator sport. But come prepared with a beach chair, a blanket, and snacks because as soon as that sun goes down, stargazing is pretty amazing too. Be prepared to find all your favorites, from Orion’s Belt, to the Big Dipper, and take in that glorious, cloudy streak across the sky, the Milky Way. (Pro tip: Do this in August, during the Perseid Meteor Shower for a true show of “out of this world” entertainment.)
4.’Sconset Bluff Walk
See how the other half lives by strolling the beautiful ’Sconset Bluff Walk. This easy path begins right in the heart of downtown ‘Sconset, wedged in between two homes just across from the ‘Sconset Market parking lot. Meander along the cliffs (don’t worry, it’s very safe) and enjoy unspoiled views to your right of the Atlantic Ocean, and to your left, the most magnificent waterfront homes you may have ever seen. End your walk back at the ‘Sconset Market for ice cream and other treats. (Tip: Do this hike in July when the rose-covered cottages are “swallowed” by blooms at their peak.)
5. Take a Peek At Today’s Catch
There’s a magical hour down on Straight Wharf and it happens every day around five when the fishing boats have all returned from long days at sea. Laid out in all their glory on the wood dock planks are rows of beautiful
stripers and bluefish, hosed off and cleaned by the crew. Get there early enough to snap a pic or two, and then grab an early dinner at one of the local eateries. The Tavern is a favorite for their table on the second level balcony where you can watch the people filter on and off the pier.
6. Fireworks On The Beach
To celebrate the fourth of July, pack a picnic and head to Steps Beach on the fifth (yes, the fifth of July, at 9 pm to be exact) where just feet from the beach a barge will set off an impressive show. Don’t forget glow in the dark bracelets and remember, they’re not just for the kids!
7. Grill In Your Own Backyard And Watch A Movie
Sometimes the best food in town can be found in your very own home, so light up the grill and throw on whatever caught your fancy at the store. Don’t forget the s’mores to cook over an open flame, to enjoy the creamy, crumbly mess as you watch an old classic movie like JAWS projected on a sheet hanging from a clothesline. Hold your loved ones close and take in all the magic this season has to offer. And if this isn’t the most perfect summer evening you will have all season, we don’t know what is.
8. Ride The Wave
Feeling a bit lazy? Grab two bucks and take the Wave, the island’s year-round shuttle service for an affordable and unusual tour of the island. Pick your favorite route ahead of time (the Sconset via Polpis route is our favorite) and score a window seat for taking in some of the most beautiful scenery the island has to offer.
9. Day Trippin’ To Marthas Vineyard
Feel like exploring a whole new world? Hop on the Hy-Line Ferry and head to our sister island, Martha’s Vineyard. With a convenient schedule offering one boat out in the morning and one boat back in the evening, you’ve got your transportation covered for heading there and back. Plus, you will be docking right in Oak Bluffs, an adorable little seaside town where bicycle rentals are abundant. Grab one and head out on the road, and check out the many towns, beaches, and restaurants this larger island has to offer.
10. Feel Like A Kid Again : Eat At The Pharmacy Lunch Counter
There’s a little “old Nantucket” that can still be found on this island, and that can especially be said for the lunch counter at Nantucket Pharmacy. Located on Main Street, and complete with its swinging country screen door, grab yourself a seat at the laminate counter and order a grilled cheese and a root beer float. Let your feet dangle from the stool as if you were a kid again (or at least try) and even check out the silly toys and games by the front door before you leave. This is a must do on a rainy day.
Article edited, original story in ONLY Nantucket, Summer, 2019.